This morning Sleepy Giant Entertainment announced Comic ConQuest, an upcoming free to play title that pits costumed geeks against one another in fulfillment of every cosplayer’s darkest desires.
Comic ConQuest is a newly-revealed “tactical RPG” being developed by Sleepy Giant Entertainment. As its name would suggest, the game is heavily rooted in the world of comic books, and to its credit Sleepy Giant made the wise move to join forces with Emmy-winning artist/producer/animator Jeff Matsuda. If that name sounds familiar to you, that’d be because Matsuda has been working in comics and animation for nearly two decades. He served as chief character designer on The Jackie Chan Adventures and The Batman, and you may have seen his art in issues of Wolverine, X-Men and The Avengers.
Point being: Matsuda’s got some serious artistic chops, and as you can see from the Action Comics spoof/promotional piece seen at right, the art direction in Comic ConQuest is both immediately appealing and carries a unique style. Most crucially, it’s a good match for the premise, which is the real draw here.
Imagine a comic book convention. Any convention; it doesn’t matter which. Now imagine the number of fans there dressed as their favorite heroes/heroines. Got that in your mind’s eye? Now picture these people miraculously gaining the superpowers their costumes suggest. It’s chaos, right? Destructive, wanton, nerd-fuelled chaos. And it’s glorious.
That’s the basic premise behind Comic ConQuest, and is 90 percent of the reason why I’m mentioning it this morning. This is a game you’re going to have to wait a bit for – the free to play title currently lacks an official release date; the best we have to go on is a nebulous “Q4 2013” release on “web, mobile and tablet platforms” – but that premise just holds so much promise that I couldn’t avoid covering the game.
The biggest concern this concept raises however, is how Sleepy Giant will handle its superheroes. We’d have to assume that Sleepy Giant lacks the funds to license the entirety of the DC and Marvel Comics rosters, so almost by default the company will have to create an entirely new fictional universe of heroes specifically to give the game’s characters something to dress up as. This is where we’re hoping Matsuda’s expertise comes in, as creating new, universally appealing superheroes from scratch is not remotely as easy as it looks. Many games have attempted this feat before and outside of the brilliant Freedom Force – and arguably City of Heroes, which allowed players to create their own heroes – none have been able to match the iconic appeal of “real” superheroes.
That’s going to be the biggest sticking point for Comic ConQuest, even moreso than its need to attract players in the increasingly saturated free to play mobile game market. Who wants to control a group of geeks who worship lame heroes and then, in turn, become said lame heroes?
We’ll bring you more on Comic ConQuest as we approach the game’s official debut. In the meantime, you can keep track of Comic ConQuest by visiting its official website. At the moment it includes a single piece of art and a countdown clock with nearly two days left, so don’t expect much until Thursday.